John Dunn’s Loopers: A Caddie’s Twenty-Year Golf Odyssey destined to become a classic of golf writing
A treasure of a memoir about the uncommon world of the club caddie and the improbable journey it resulted in for one man
- Imprint: Crown Publishers
- On sale: May 14, 2013
- Price: $25.00
- Pages: 304
- ISBN: 9780770437183
“Loopers is a wildly original journey through the golf world, and a fascinating glimpse into the secret lives of caddies. John Dunn is the perfect tour guide—by turns droll and introspective, imbued with a reverence for the game and a heroic wanderlust that takes him to many of golf’s sacred spots. Reading this wonderful book made me want to fall in love with golf again . . . and to hit the road, in search of the adventure and self-discovery that Dunn found.”
—Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated, and author of Bud, Sweat & Tees
“Is caddying a vocation or a permanent vacation? John Dunn has an amazing talent to get the reader to ‘enter the writer’s tent’ and imagine you’re right there with him in St. Andrews, at Bandon Dunes, at Shinnecock, at Olympic. It’s a trip work taking.” —Mike Keiser, owner, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
“John Dunn turns toting the golf bags of the rich into an evocative and often very funny meditation on class and purpose. The serendipity he prizes about caddying turns out, as he slides into middle age, to be doubtful compensation for a more conventional career. The mixed blessings of vagabondage, and Dunn’s slow-motion struggle with his disapproving father, give his memoir its tense and mournful gravity.”
—Tad Friend, author of Cheerful Money
Every caddie has a story: the salty Scot looping for tourists in the birthplace of the game, the congenial old Southerner imparting time-earned wisdom on the hallowed fairways of Augusta National, the clean-cut mini-tour player earning quick cash to fund golf dreams of his own, the solitary vagabond, the master of the quick fix, the leveler of hard truths. They travel from port to port, walking and playing the most beautiful golf courses in the world. Nobody gets rich. There is no retirement plan. They only have each other—a brotherhood of crazy, colorful characters. Golf is the language they speak, and in most instances the only thing they know well. This is the life of the club caddie.
LOOPERS: A Caddie’s Twenty-Year Golf Odyssey (Crown, May 14, 2013) by longtime caddie John Dunn is a stirring, candid and often laugh-out-loud funny narrative that chronicles the decades he spent caddying and playing historic tracks like Augusta National, Shinnecock Hills, Olympic Club, Bandon Dunes, and the Old Course at St. Andrews. Dunn never expected that his summer job as a caddie at the local course in Connecticut might turn into something more. The lifers—as in “caddies for life”—that plied the links were an ensemble of misfits and degenerates that made the caddie yard look more like an OTB parlor than anything resembling a country club. But Dunn came of age in those yards and on those courses, and after an eye-opening experience caddying at Maroon Creek Club in Aspen during college, the magnetism of the game and the lifestyle—mingling with movie stars and moguls, $500 a day tips, weekend jaunts to Vegas and yacht trips to Cabo—proved irresistible. One adventure after another kept him coming back summer after summer, until—out of college—he found himself migrating with the seasons, looping at some of the most exquisite and exclusive golf destinations in the world. Dunn crisscrossed the country on his own big loop, working inside the private hedges while camping on the mountains, following the back roads and stumbling across unexpected moments of profound natural beauty, and embracing the freedom of what he calls the last vagabond existence in America, all while trying to decide whether to quit the loop and get a real job. Maybe next year …
LOOPERS also sheds light on the dark side of caddying—it is a “caddyshack confidential” of sorts. In many cases, club caddies are people who’ve suffered setbacks in their careers and personal lives. Some are heavy drinkers and gamblers. Others are just wayward and troubled souls. They have found a job that offers anonymity and mobility, but offers few comforts and no job security. They are beloved by their players, but are ultimately just an expendible luxury. Dunn exposes the fears, shames, hard knocks and harsh realities of a profession “off the grid” as he also offers tremendous insight into that special kind of caddie hedonism, where the mores are fast and loose on the course and off of it.
In an interview Dunn can discuss:
-The life of the club caddie vs. tour caddie
-Club caddie perks, pitfalls, and politics
-The typical reasons caddies keep caddying even when it’s no longer in their best interest
-The story about hijacking a beer cart while caddying with Kevin Costner
-His very embarrassing run-in with actor Joe Pesci
-His “power loop” experience caddying for Bill Gates where he learned all about the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit
-His friendship with Bono, and his nationwide charter school program
-What it was like caddying in Arnold Palmer’s group at Augusta
-His fundraiser for pancreatic cancer, Golf My Way Home, where he hitchhiked, caddied and played his way from coast to coast to raise money for cancer research to support his father who was suffering from the disease
LOOPERS captures a side of the service industry rarely glimpsed by the outside, allowing readers to peek inside the sometimes glamorous, sometimes seedy world of golf—and the big money and colorful personalities that come with it. Dunn’s clever and funny prose offers anecdotes, insights, and belly laughs, as he regales readers with exotic and exciting tales beyond the familiar scope of our normal existence. The book sheds light on the lives of the career club caddies whose praises are rarely sung—the lifers. The solitary souls earning their keep a hundred bucks a strap. Not many of us are cut out to be a looper, but readers would be hard-pressed not to deeply envy the leisure with which Dunn was able to experience this world, much less the way he is able to render it.
Destined to become a classic of golf writing, LOOPERS is a perennial account that touches on the animating force of the game itself, reminding us of the reason we continue to tee the ball up, year in and year out.
About the Author:
John Dunn is a writer whose work has appeared in a number of magazines, including The Golfer and Travel + Leisure Golf. He lives in Southern California.